Monday, November 10, 2014

My Experiences With Essential Oils, So Far

This isn't usually the sort of thing I blog about, but lately my blog has had no real rules.  So, without further ado, I must admit that, my friends, I've become a hippy essential oil lady.  And in this blog, I will vomit just about everything I have learned about using essential oils.  Fair warning.

I post about my oil experiences a bit on "the Facebook," and so I get a few questions from time to time.  Lately, I've gotten a LOT of questions.  Essential oils are gaining popularity, and people are curious.  I'm no expert.  I'm still pretty new at essential oil usage (just started using them back in April or May), and I'm still learning.  I will still be learning, as there are many, many different oils, many, many different blends, and many, many uses for each oil.  But, since I keep getting questions, I thought I'd go ahead and write about my experiences with essential oils, so far.

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor.  The statements I make here are based on my own experiences using oils and are not to be taken as medical advice or expertise.  If you use essential oils, please do your research on each individual oil or blend so that you can use them SAFELY (especially if you are considering using oils with children or if you plan on taking oils internally).  Please also keep in mind that not everyone has the same reaction or experience to each oil.  What works for me might not work for you.  I might be able to handle a particular oil or blend without diluting with a carrier oil, but each person needs to see what works best with their own individual skin and body chemistry.  Also, the uses I list below for these oils is not an exhaustive list.  There are many uses for oils, so do your research!  "The Google" is full of all kinds of info.

What brand of oils do I use?  I use Rocky Mountain Oils, which I either get from their website OR I order them from Native American Nutritionals.  The companies recently joined, and so both sites sell the exact same oils at the exact same price (unless there is a sale on one of the sites), and they are shipped within the same time frame (usually takes 3 work days to get my oils after I order them).  The reason I use both sites is because I've learned that sometimes one site will offer sales on certain oils or free shipping deals.  I have also found promo codes on various blogs that are useful only on one of the sites or the other.  I try to take advantage of any sales from either site in order to save money.  I like saving money.

RM oils are therapeutic grade, pure, organic, and not to mention, awesome.  I decided to go with RMO because they offer high quality at a lower price than some other companies.  I originally got into essential oils through a friend who is selling Young Living oils.  The oils I got from her were great--I have no complaints about their quality.  But they were EXPENSIVE.  RMO offers similar quality at lower prices.  And I can also go online and order whatever I need whenever I want it, without having to go through any multi-level marketing middleman.  It's nice having that convenience.  I personally don't care what oil brand you go with, as long as you do your homework and get high quality, therapeutic grade oils--especially if you plan on using these oils medicinally.  If you just want some peppermint or cinnamon oil to keep bugs out of your house, go get something cheap.  If you're using this on your own body or on your family--spend the extra money to make sure you're not getting something that can hurt you or your loved ones.  I looked around and read a lot. I read several other blogs that had tested different oils (I wish I had the money to do that for myself, but I don't), and RMO came out on top in many of those tests.

Here are all the oils or blends I have used.  I am still fairly new at this whole thing, so I do plan on using more oils in the future.  I also want to note that I haven't gotten around to purchasing a diffuser, and I'm still on the fence about whether I want to or not.  I'm not sure a diffuser is something I'd even use enough to justify buying one.  Other people use them and love them, but I'm bad at upkeep (*coughI'mASlobcough*), and I housesit so much that I'm often not even living in my own house for weeks at a time.  A diffuser would probably get buried under some laundry or knitting somewhere.  But other people like them.  So if you're looking into diffusers/oils that are good for diffusing, I'm not your girl.  Yet.

(*EDIT* I have recently started using a diffuser.  I don't have a lot to say on the matter, except I like it.  I don't feel knowledgeable enough to say much more than that.)

Melaleuca (AKA the oil that is hardest to remember how to spell...well, probably not, but still...):
Melaleuca is basically tea tree oil, except that tea tree is a slightly higher potency (I plan on purchasing tea tree oil from RMO, to see how it compares to Melaleuca, but that's not in the budget yet).  This was the first essential oil I tried.  I originally used Melaleuca from Young Living, and it worked well.  When that ran out, I purchased Melaleuca from Rocky Mountain.  Their quality is about the same.  RMO's Melaleuca has a slightly less pungent smell, but I noticed no difference in how the oils worked.  I have had dry scalp issues for years.  I use melaleuca in my shampoo, in hair oil, and a few other hair products.  The thing that really does the trick, however, is a scalp treatment I use once a week (the recipe is at the end of this blog post). This has been the only thing to help with my severely dry scalp--seriously, before I started using this, my scalp was flaking and peeling so badly that I felt like a leper.  As long as I use the weekly scalp treatment, my head doesn't even itch!  I also put a few drops of melaleuca in my skin toner (recipe below) and in my store-bought moisturizer.  Melaleuca is supposed to help with acne--and I'm one of those unfortunate adults who still has occasional acne breakouts.  I still get acne, but not as much as I did before using the melaleuca in my moisturizer.

Lavender: Everyone says that lavender is the most versatile oil, and it's true.  I use lavender to soothe (and heal) my severely dry hands.  I put a few drops in my store-bought lotion, and at night I use coconut oil with a few drops of lavender oil mixed it.  I slather my hands with the coconut oil mix and cover my hands with white gloves.  This has been the only thing that has helped really heal my dry, dry skin.  I've tried just about everything, so this was what really sold me on essential oils.  I originally got lavender oil from a friend selling YL.  When I ran out, I purchased a new bottle from RM.  I like RM's smell a little better, but the oils are really about the same quality.
I also use lavender with other essential oils in an allergy mix (recipe below).  The allergy mix works so well that I've been able to give up Claritin!  I put lavender in my hair products and in the weekly scalp treatments, facial toner, and in my store-bought moisturizer.
Last week I burned my finger on a hot pan.  Usually, such a burn would blister by the next day.  However, I just put a drop of lavender oil directly on the burn (it's one of the mildest oils--please don't try this with a different oil or blend without checking to see if it's safe), and the next day, you couldn't even tell I'd been burned.  Lavender's smell is wonderful and relaxing.  If you're going to try out essential oils, I recommend lavender as the one to start with.  NAN/RMO sells two different kinds of lavender.  I use the Lavender Bulgaria, as I read that it is a little more potent than the Lavender Hungary.

Peppermint: Another extremely versatile oil!  I use it in the aforementioned allergy blend.  If my back/neck/shoulder muscles are tired, I put a drop in a handful of coconut oil and slather it on my back.  I don't always use it in my scalp tonic, but sometimes I'll add a few drops to help cover the smell of the apple cider vinegar.  This is a "hot" oil for some people, so please make sure you test how your body reacts if you plan on using it.  I do just fine applying it straight to my skin, but you might need to dilute it with a carrier oil, like coconut oil, jojoba oil, or almond oil.

Pink Grapefruit: I originally got this oil because I thought it might help improve my mood to inhale it.  I love the smell of grapefruit! Inhalation didn't seem to make much difference in my mood, but I started reading about how some people like to put grapefruit oil in their water for weight loss.  I thought I'd give it a try.  I didn't notice much weight loss, but what I did discover is that putting a drop of grapefruit oil in my water not only gave my water a wonderful refreshing flavor, but it REALLY helped energize me.  If I'm feeling sluggish in the afternoons, I add a drop or two of grapefruit oil to my water.  It really gives me a pick me up to get me through the day.  *NOTE* Please educate yourself before taking any oil internally.  Many people who use oils choose not to take them internally, regardless of the oil's quality.  If you choose to take oils internally, make sure you are using a therapeutic grade oil, as many cheaper oils contain dangerous additives or are extracted using unsafe methods.  Some oils (such as melaleuca) are toxic and should NEVER be taken internally. RMO oils are safe to be taken internally if they are not toxic, but this is a decision you should make for yourself.  In other words, don't just go order a bunch of oils and start drinking them.  Do your research!  Make an informed decision!

(*EDIT* I have recently stopped taking any oils internally.  After reading more on it, I decided against using them in that manner.  I feel it MIGHT be unsafe, and even if it's safe, it seems unnecessary.  This is still a choice you must make on your own, and please do research.)

Lemon: Lemon is a great little versatile oil.  A lot of people use it in cleaning or use it to flavor their water.  As of right now, I just use the lemon oil in my allergy mix.  There are a couple of different kinds of lemon oils available from RMO.  I got the Lemon USA Pressed Peel.  It smells really, really good!

Rosemary: I use this oil in all of my hair products and in my scalp tonic, as it is good for hair growth and strength.  I love the way my hair smells when I use rosemary in it.  There's also a lot of evidence to support that inhaling rosemary oil is good for memory.  I'm not sure if it helps my memory, but the scent of rosemary oil does help me relax.

Bug Off: This is a blend of oils sold by RMO.  A blend differs from an oil single as it contains many essential oils that have already been blended by the company.  Bug off contains lemongrass and citronella, among other oils, which are useful in warding off insects.  I made my own bug spray with this (recipe below).  It worked just as well as something I'd buy from the store, only without the added chemicals--and for a fraction of the price.  I figure one bottle of Bug Off will last me through several "insect seasons"--well worth the investment.

Aligning: So far, this is the only oil I've used that I haven't just absolutely loved.  I do think it's helping, but for me, it hasn't produced the dramatic results it seems to provide for other people.  I'm still using it and testing it to see if I start to notice any real difference that it makes.
I have had back/shoulder/and neck issues and accompanying dizziness for months.  I was seeing a chiropractor, but that stopped helping, and it got too expensive.  Since this oil blend is known as "a chiropractor in a bottle," I thought I would give it a try.  I applied a few drops along my spine, particularly around my neck and upper back.  At first, all this oil did was make me dizzy.  As dizziness was one of my neck/back symptoms, I thought perhaps that I was just having a relapse.  But I noticed there was a correlation--I'd apply the oil, and a few minutes later, I'd start to feel dizzy.  As a result, I started using the oil only at night, right before bedtime.
I still apply this oil to my spine every night.  I'm no longer having sensations of dizziness, and sometimes when I apply it, I will note that it is a lot easier to pop my neck.  It might be doing its job, and I might just not know it.  I think the original dizziness was actually the oil working to realign my back and body.  I was feeling dizzy because it was working, but my body was used to being out of alignment and protested being put back in alignment.  But I'm not 100% sure.  With that being said, I'm not sure whether this blend is a good one for me or not.  I still have an almost full bottle, so I will  keep using it for a while.  Other people have used this blend and had a lot of help from it, so my personal experience with it is not to be taken as the norm.  But if anyone out there has used Aligning from RMO (or a similar blend from another company, such as Balance by doTerra or Valor by Young Living) and has experienced dizziness or headaches after using this oil, please leave me a little note in the comments.  I really thought I was going a little crazy when I started having adverse reactions to this oil, so it would be nice to know if anyone out there has had a similar reaction.  It does just go to show you that not everyone has the same reaction to an oil or blend.  And sometimes your body just needs to get used to an oil or blend. Note: This oil is dark, due to the blue tansy it contains, and it might stain clothes--but in my opinion, you'd have to really be trying to make it stain anything.

True Blue: Okay.  This is the stuff.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE True Blue.  Since having all my neck/back/shoulder issues, this blend has been an absolute life saver!  True Blue helps me so much with the pain, but it's also anti-inflammatory and calms tension!  It contains both peppermint and wintergreen, so it smells a bit like Winterfresh chewing gum, but it also contains blue tansy, which serves to calm and soothe.  I absolutely love the smell.  My body has started reacting to the smell of True Blue before I ever apply the blend to my skin.  I smell it and immediately feel calmer, more relaxed.  If I'm in pain, the smell serves to alert me to the fact that relief is coming.  I apply this product directly to my back, neck, and shoulders, placing a drop on whatever area is in pain at the moment.  Sometimes I'll slather on some coconut oil to my whole upper back region after applying the oil.  This provides exceptional pain relief and promotes relaxation.  I use this stuff almost every night before bed, and as needed during the day.  I've found I haven't needed it as much during the day, as it really seems to be keeping the inflammation in check.  I love this stuff.  I'm not exaggerating to say that it has greatly improved the quality of my life.  If you have pain due to inflammation or arthritis, please look into this blend.  *Note* This oil is dark, due to the blue tansy, and can stain clothes, but, as I said, you'd really have to be trying to make it stain your clothes.  I figure you'd have to be wearing a white shirt and apply drops directly to said shirt to really have any problems.  I mean, if you're clumsy, like me, just don't wear white while applying this oil.  Roller bottles are really good options for clumsy people who spill stuff, btw.

Feminine Aid: This is another blend that I just can't stop raving about.  I got this oil because I heard that it helped with three things that plague me: 1) Anxiety, 2) Depression, 3) GIRLY TIME CRAMPS.  I suspect it's the latter of those three things that give Feminine Aid its happy little name.  To be honest, it doesn't help too much with my cramps.  I did apply a little to my abdomen during my last girly time (yeah, I'm blogging about that, get over it), and it helped a bit.  It took the edge off my pain, but I still had to take ibuprofen to be functional.  I've read other reviewers say it was the only thing that helped them with cramps, so if you're having issues, it's worth a try.  It also helped my manage some of my, how shall I put this?--FEELINGS during girly time.
But I really wish this blend had a different name, because it's not just a girly time oil.  It's an every-day-can't-be-without-it oil.  I suffer from mild anxiety and depression.  It's manageable, but lately, due to all my back issues and stress and life in general, I've had a harder time of things. I figured I'd try this blend to see if it helped me deal with my anxiety and depression.  I put a drop or two behind my ears, on my wrists, around my ankles, wearing it much like a perfume. At first, I noticed it helped a little.  It would keep me a little more focused.  The smell was calming.  I was happy with it.
But a couple of weeks ago, this oil did something that absolutely astounded me.  I had had an awful day.  Just awful.  And I had a lot I still had to do that day.  So, during my short amount of time to myself, I did what any reasonable anxious person would do, and I started having a panic attack.  I've had them from time to time, but I've had them more frequently as of late.  I was having trouble breathing without hyperventilating.  I was crying.  I couldn't calm down.  I felt completely out of control.  I couldn't stop the negative thoughts from overwhelming me.  But I reached for my Feminine Aid.  I took a good sniff straight from the bottle (inhalation is the quickest way to get an oil in your system), and then I applied a drop behind my right ear.  Then I started to put a drop behind my left ear, but I noticed something.  My breathing had already become even.  I immediately felt calmer.  The bad thoughts went away, and I felt grounded and reasonable, immediately able to see life realistically instead of thinking the worst and letting it all overwhelm me.

Y'all.  That essential oil blend stopped a panic attack in its tracks.

Immediately.

That stuff is legit.

I am NEVER leaving home without Feminine Aid.

I'm a believer.

If you have mood issues, I strongly recommend this blend.  It's all kinds of amazing.
*Note* It took me a while to become accustomed to the smell, as it's very earthy and musty.  In my opinion, it smells very different in the bottle than it does on your skin.  On my skin, it smells like a nice musky perfume.  I think your body chemistry will change the scent a little, so if you get this and are turned off by how it smells in the bottle, give it time.

Immune Strength: I have only just started using this oil, so I'm still figuring out the best way to use it, as well as how well it works for me.  I was having some lingering sore throat/cough issues, and I thought I'd try this to see if it would knock it out.  I diluted some in coconut oil and rubbed it over my throat.  I also put a drop on each foot, near my toes (this is a HOT oil blend, so my foot is the only place I feel safe using it undiluted).  That seemed to help my breathing, but I still had throat pain/chest congestion.  After reading a little more on this blend, I did put a drop in a glass of warm water and drank it.  I did this two nights in a row.  I'm not sure if the oil is the culprit, but I had an upset stomach the second night.  I stopped taking it internally after that, but I did notice that the cough is gone, and my throat is feeling better.  That cough and sore throat had lingered for almost a month, and I finally feel like I'm over it.  I'm not 100% sure, but I think that drop of oil in the water I drank is what knocked out that cough.  I might try just gargling with a glass of water and a drop of Immune Strength the next time I have a sore throat.  I've read so many good things about this oil, so I'm definitely going to keep trying to figure out the best way(s) to use it.  I'm considering adding a bit to my allergy blend, but I haven't decided yet.


Recipes:

Note: When I use the word "recipe," what I mean is "this is the general idea."  Honestly, when I cook and when I use oils, I never do things exactly the same thing twice.  But here's basically what I do when I make certain things using essential oils.

Scalp Tonic:

1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
3/4 cup Water
3 drops Melaleuca Oil
3 drops Lavender Oil
3 drops Rosemary Oil
1 drop Peppermint Oil (optional)
1 teaspoon Olive Oil (optional) (if used, reduce amount of water)

Mix water, ACV, and optional olive oil.  I don't always use the olive oil, but I find that it helps improve my hair if I use it occasionally.  Hot oil is a good hair treatment.  When I use the olive oil, I microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds to get the oil nice and warm.  If I'm not using the olive oil, I don't worry about warming it up--although a warm mixture feels nicer on your head.  It's up to you.
Pour mix into an 8 oz. spray bottle.  Add essential oils.  Close bottle and shake vigorously for a few seconds.  Lean your head over your tub or sink and spray contents on your scalp, occasionally pausing to massage mixture into your scalp.  When bottle is empty, gather all hair into an elastic band, wrap your head in a towel, and leave mixture on for at least 30 minutes.  It won't hurt to leave it on longer.  I once forgot I had the treatment on, and watched a good 2 hour movie before remembering I needed to wash it out.
When you've left it on a bit, just wash your hair as normal.
I do this scalp treatment once a week, and my scalp doesn't itch or flake anymore!
You MAY want to follow all this up with a leave-in hair rinse which includes:
4 cups water
A "splash" (appr. 1 tbsp) ACV
3 drops Melaleuca
3 drops Lavender
3 drops Rosemary
1 drop Peppermint (still optional, but since you're leaving even a small amount of vinegar in your hair, the peppermint REALLY helps eliminate the residual odor that might linger after your hair dries).
Pour this over your head after you wash your hair, and just leave it in and go on with your life.
I don't always do the follow up rinse, but sometimes it helps my scalp even more. I do the follow-up rinse about once a month.

Facial Toner:

1/4 cup ACV
1 cup Water
3 drops Melaleuca
3 drops Lavender

Mix all ingredients in a bottle.  Apply to face as needed with a cotton ball.

Allergy Mix:

Equal parts:
Lavender Oil
Peppermint Oil
Lemon Oil

It's that simple.
You can put a drop of each on the soles of your feet, or you can premix a blend.  I actually use two different kinds of mixes.  At night, I use a mix of these oils in a base of coconut oil.  I rub the mix all over my feet, as this provides allergy relief, as well as makes my feet all soft and dainty!
In the morning, I use a roll-on bottle (can be purchased from RMO or NAN websites) with equal parts of the oils already mixed together.  I simply roll a little on the soles of each feet (particularly near my toes), and then put my socks and/or shoes on.  It sounds a little silly, but it really works!

If I'm feeling particularly allergic on a certain day, I'll get a glass of water and put a drop of each oil in it.  I'll gargle the oil water for a few minutes.  It helps even more.  Some people go so far as to take this oil mix internally by drinking it or putting it in capsules.  But usually, just putting it on my feet is enough.  I was taking Claritin every day, and I'm off it now.  The oil blend actually works better than the Claritin!

*I might try adding Immune Strength to my allergy roller, as it seems to help alleviate chest congestion and sore throat pain.  If I do, I will use much less IS than the other oils.  Maybe 1 part IS to 2 parts of the others.

Bug Off Spray:

Fill a 4 oz spray bottle almost completely with water.  Add 20-30 drops of Bug Off.  Shake well before each use.  Spray on Bug Off spray all over your skin before going outside in an area where you might be exposed to mosquitoes or other biting insects.


So far, that's my limited experience with essential oils.  But I'm always trying to learn more.  I want to try new oils and new blends, as well as learn new uses for the oils I already own and love!  Please share your own experiences/recipes/questions below.  I'm learning that there's a whole community of essential oil users--so let's help out one another!



7 comments:

  1. I too order from Rocky Mountain Oils and I love them!

    I have learned that I can't handle anything with Blue Tansy in it. Neither can my oldest son. I too am recovering from neck/shoulder/spine issues and had an adverse reaction to it. So you're not alone in experiencing adverse reactions in certain oil blends! I decided to not stick with it, and stopped using it. My favorite RMO blend is Immune Defense - I use that nearly every day. My favorite to just sniff all day is Peace and Quiet.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Oregano is another must have on hand. Twice it has stopped a sinus infection, that was starting up, cold. Like next day throat is feeling better, second day gone, good. Rub a drop on bottom of feet and a carrier with a drop across the sinus cavities, you can add peppermint to it, if you're stuffy as well.

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  3. I get dizzy from Valor. First time I used it I put it on my lower back before bed. I was dizzy the entire next day. Tried it a few more times, same thing. Even diffusing I would get that reaction. Started to diffuse with other oils and that seemed to be ok. Tried one drop on my neck last night - dizzy all day today!
    I also order from RMO, NAN and YL. I do like the lower prices and deals you can get from RMO and NAN

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for this great post, all selections of article and pix really genuine.

    ReplyDelete
  5. We work with only 100% pure and organic Dill oil and other important essential oils, we manufacture it and certified its purity according to ISO. for more please join us thanks

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi jean, thnks for sharing your experience abt Vapor EO.
    I applied on my forehead n a few minutes later, i got a dizzy spell too!
    Now i better avoid it.
    Also thnks to Ruth campbell for this great informative post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi jean, thnks for sharing your experience abt Vapor EO.
    I applied on my forehead n a few minutes later, i got a dizzy spell too!
    Now i better avoid it.
    Also thnks to Ruth campbell for this great informative post!

    ReplyDelete